The final post in our preparing for GDPR series will look at how organisations can differentiate themselves by demonstrating their commitment to data protection. All organisations that have EU customers, or store data in the EU, need to prepare for GDPR. But those who don’t fall into this category should examine their business practices when it comes to data protection.

Privacy matters

A 2016 survey by the information commissioner’s office showed that UK consumers take the privacy and protection of their data very seriously. People have to be able to trust organisations with their data.

Organisations, both large and small, need to make it easy for customers to access and delete their data, if they are to gain customers’ trust.

Even organisations that aren’t affected by the GDPR law will want to follow the best practices that the regulations introduce. People won’t know that the law doesn’t apply to your organisation – they will expect the same level of service that they get from organisations that have to comply. They won’t hesitate to move to a competitor that does make it easy for them to control their own data.

Four ways to make life easier for your customers and service users

The last thing any organisation should want to do is make life difficult for people, especially if their continued success relies on the goodwill of their customers and service users. The introduction of the GDPR represents a great opportunity to make operations as user-friendly and customer-focused as possible.

1.     Utility and transparency

Assess what information your organisation really needs from people and find a way to ask for that data, and no more.

Make the approval process transparent and easy. People need to know what they’re signing up for and they need to know what they can expect from you in return.

For example, if you want to use a customer’s data to market to them, explain why this is a good thing for the customer. Will they get unique offers, tailored to their interests?

The opt-in system is an opportunity for organisations to create closer ties with the people they serve.

2.     Create digital vaults

Consider providing customers with their own scalable digital vault. Give your customers access to their own digital storage – a place where all the information you have on them is kept.

This vault should be easy and hassle-free for individuals to access and make deletion and transfer requests. It’ll also make your life easier, as they’ll be able to self-manage data.

3.     Provide secure communication channels

Give service users or customers a way to communicate with the organisation securely and easily.

A secure platform like Pushfor allows people to contact the organisation on a confidential channel. It can give both the customer and organisation confirmation of exactly what was discussed and when. This ensures both data security and the ability to trace agreements and disputes.

4.     Make the relationship hassle-free

Simplify on-boarding and policy management. Be clear from the outset on what data the organisation requires from the individual. Let people know why the data is needed, how it will be used and what benefit they’ll see from its use.

Once the account is set up, let your customers know how they can manage their data. People should be able to access their data when and where they choose.

Even if an organisation does everything right, most people will still need to close their account at some point. When people switch to a competitor, under GDPR they’ll have the right to take their data with them and demand its deletion from the organisation’s servers. Making the leaving process as simple as possible ensures a good last impression and may leave the way open to a customer’s return in the future.

Conclusion

The general data protection regulations may seem overwhelming, yet the basic principle is simple. As individuals, we have the right to access, control, delete and move our data.

Organisations that don’t comply with the regulations will face penalties. Those that not only comply, but excel in providing a seamless service to its consumers, will benefit from a more structured, transparent relationship with those that use their services – and that can only be a good thing.

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